Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ham. Co. Coroner rules Mark Decator's death a homicide

On November 16, suspected bank robber Mark Dacator was fatally shot by the NPD’s Sgt. Tom Stein following a 100 mph chase through Norwood neighborhoods. The Hamilton County Coroner’s office told us this morning that Mr. Decator’s death has been ruled a homicide. As a result, his autopsy will not be made public unless or until Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deter’s office allows it to be released.

Interested in finding out what the legal process is in the wake of the homicide ruling, we called the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office and spoke with Bill Ranaghan. Here are the steps he told us will follow:

1. Joe Deters will review both the Hamilton County Coronor’s report on Mr. Decator, including his autopsy, and the Norwood Police Department’s full investigation into the incident. From these, he will determine if there is evidence of a crime. If there’s no evidence of a crime, the case is closed.
2. If Mr. Deters determines there is evidence of a crime, he will assign the matter to a chief assistant in the Criminal Division of his office. That individual may talk with Norwood’s investigating police officers, find out who the witnesses are, what the potential defense is, etc.
3. From there, the chief assistant may refer the case to the Grand Jury, which may or may not indict the police officer.

Mr. Ranaghan said there’s no way to know how long the process will take if the matter winds up going before a Grand Jury.

This website has legal definitions for various types of homicides and describes the conditions under which a homicide is justifiable.